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NR 114 & 146 Exam Update: 

The department is evaluating a computer-based platform to provide exams safely and reliably to drinking water, wastewater, septage, and landfill operators, as well as well drillers and pump installers. It is anticipated this computer-based platform will not be available until Spring 2021. Historically the department provides over 3,000 exams on an annual basis, which cannot all be accommodated in person at this time. We understand that there are individuals that may have an urgent need for an exam prior to the availability of computer-based exams, such as: a utility, facility, organization or business would result in noncompliance or violations without the exam(s); a utility, facility, organization or business would be unable to fill a position without the exam(s); or passing an exam is needed to accept, begin or maintain a job.

The department has prepared an “Urgent Exam Request Form [DOCX]” in which individuals needing an exam can complete and submit to Requests will be evaluated weekly and individuals contacted as to whether their exam request will be accommodated, based on criticality and the department’s ability to adhere to public health guidelines.

Ch. NR 114, 499 and 524 Wis. Adm. Code require an individual to pass one or more exams in order to become a certified operator. These exams are provided by the department at least two times annually in various locations. See the schedule below for more details.

All exams are multiple choice. The one exception is the wastewater unique treatment exam, which is short answer. The majority of wastewater exams are 50 questions. The wastewater advanced exam is 100 questions and the attached growth process, recirculating media filters and total nitrogen exams are 25 questions each. All municipal waterworks exams are 40 questions. The one exception is the surface water exam, which is 80 questions. Septage exams are 40 questions and landfill exams are 50 questions each.

Each exam date has a morning and afternoon session. Each session is three hours. An applicant may split up their exams between the morning and afternoon session. If you are taking exams at both times, please indicate on the exam application which exams you would like to take during each session.

A score of 75 percent or higher is a passing score for waterworks, wastewater, septage, and small water systems (OTM/NN) exams. A score of 70 percent or higher is a passing score for landfill exams.

Exam results will be mailed to each applicant normally within 30 days of the exam date. Applicants who have failed a written exam may apply to re–take the exam at any future exam date by completing an application and paying the exam fee.

Additional information, including study guides, can be found under the various program certification tabs.

2020 Exam Schedule

Application available Postmark deadline Exam date Exam location(s)
November 27, 2019 January 8, 2020 February 5, 2020 Plover
February 26, 2020 April 8, 2020 May 6, 2020 CANCELED

Renew Online

You can now renew wastewater, waterworks and small water systems certification online.


When applications are available the links will show up below.

image of a test answer sheet